Alternative name(s): Koreaans (nl), koreanska (sv)

Language family: Isolated language

Geographical use: North and South Korea, Japan and China

Information: The origin of Korean is unknown, but it might be remotely related to Japanese. Old Korean was written with Chinese characters and can be found in songs (57 BC till 935 AD). Of the period between the 10th and 15th centuries, practically nothing has remained. In 1446 the Korean alphabet Hankul appeared. This alphabet consists of 10 vowels and 14 consonants.

Since 1930 there is a standard language which is based on a dialect spoken in Seoul. In North Korea the Korean alphabet is used. In South Korea Korean is written in both the pure alphabetic form as in an alphabet that uses the original Chinese signs for borrowed Chinese words. As a matter of fact, Chinese is the source of around half the Korean vocabulary.

Just as in Japanese, Korean has suffices that denote the social rank of the speaker and the person spoken to.